Processing Magazine

Exxon Plans to Drill 42 Feet to Replace Pipeline

August 4, 2011

Montana officials say Exxon Mobil Corp. has applied for a temporary construction license to build a replacement for the pipeline that broke under the Yellowstone River, according to the Associated Press. Department of Natural Resources and Conservation director Mary Sexton said the new line would be installed at a minimum depth of 42-1/2 feet below the river using horizontal directional drilling. The pipeline that broke July 1 and spilled tens of thousands of gallons of oil into the river was buried at least 5 feet beneath the river bottom. Sexton says the construction license would be followed by an easement application by Exxon to use the state-owned riverbed. She says her agency will take public comment on the proposal until Aug. 17. Exxon also needs the approval of federal regulators to replace the pipeline.